Tampa Bay Sports Day

USF Bulls Roll Up 658 Yards in Rout Of Northern Illinois

TAMPA – Record-breaking USF improved to 2-0 for the first time in the Willie Taggart era with a 48-17 win over Northern Illinois on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium.

USF is 2-0 for the first time since 2012, the ninth time overall, and has set a new program record with 104 points through the first two games of the season. The Bulls’ high-powered Gulf Coast Offense racked up 658 total yards, the second-highest total in school history, with several players finishing with career-high numbers.

“It’s fun to see so many guys get involved in that game and contribute to that win. Out of all that, there is still room for improvement. We still can be better than what we showed tonight. I’m really proud of our guys, how they went out and executed in all phases of the game,: said head coach Willie Taggart.

QB Quinton Flowers reached a new career milestone with 350 passing yards and matched his top total of four touchdown passes after completing 21 of 33 pass attempts with no interceptions. Flowers’ 403 total yards were good for eighth place in USF’s single-game history books. Flowers also rushed for 53 yards and moved into 10th place on USF’s career rushing list with 1,285 yards.

With Marlon Mack out with an injury, Darius Tice rushed for a career high of 120 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. D’Ernest Johnson also rushed for a career-high 87 yards on 16 carries and his 13-yard touchdown catch helped spot USF a 34-7 lead midway through the third quarter. USF rushed for 293 yards and was a perfect 6-for-6 inside the red zone.

Ryeshene Bronson hauled in a 73-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and finished with a career-high 113 yards on three receptions. Rodney Adams started the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown run and added a 26-yard scoring catch to help USF build a 24-0 lead in early in the second quarter.

USF’s swarming 4-2-5 defense limited NIU (0-2) to 5-for-18 on third-down conversions and kept the Huskies scoreless until 1:36 was remaining in the first half. Linebacker Auggie Sanchez led the way with 13 total tackles, one off his career high, and a sack.

USF hits the road for the first time this season to take on Syracuse on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 3:30 p.m.

GAME NOTES: USF has scored 104 points in its first two games to set a program record for the most points scored in the season’s first two games…for the ninth time, USF has begun 2-0. Six of those seasons finished with a winning record — 1998 (8-3), 2002 (9-2), 2006 (9-4), 2007 (9-4), 2008 (8-5) and 2009 (8-5). Only the inaugural 1997 campaign (5-6), 2011 (5-7) and 2012 (3-9) produced losing seasons after a 2-0 start…USF had five touchdown drives of 74 yards or greater, including a season-high 92-yarder…USF is averaging 545.2 yards and 48.7 points over its last six games, dating to 2015…USF has won nine of its last 11 games, dating to 2015… QB Quinton Flowers had a career-best 350 passing yards, the eighth-highest single-game total in USF history. He’s the seventh different USF quarterback to have a 300-yard passing game.